North Carolina has cause to celebrate – our 2010 infant mortality rate is the lowest ever, down 11.4 percent from 2009. According to the NC State Center for Health Statistics, there were seven infant deaths for every 1,000 live births in 2010, compared to 7.9 infant deaths per 1,000 live births the previous year. The greatest decline in infant mortality was seen among African American infants, a whopping 19.6 percent reduction!
This is extremely good news for our state, as infant mortality is considered a strong marker for overall population health and well-being. State leaders attribute the decline in NC’s infant mortality rate to smart investments in public health programs and education, as well as accessible, quality health care. Specifically, NC encourages women of childbearing age to lead healthy, active lifestyles; provides education and support to minority families who are at increased risk of losing an infant within the first year of life; and promotes infant safe sleep practices (e.g., back sleep positioning) to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
North Carolina has made great strides in improving maternal and child health, but there is more work to be done. As an example, the current infant mortality rate among African Americans is two times higher than that of non-Hispanic Whites. So, let’s take a moment to celebrate our success and continue working together to protect our future, our children.
To see a full copy of the report, please click here.
– Willona Stallings, PHW Program Coordinator
Partners in Health and Wholeness is an initiative of the NC Council of Churches. Please visit our website to view more resources on health and faith: www.healthandwholeness.org.